DVD Review - Peep World
Comedian Lewis Black narrates the movie. Black has a great comedic voice, but his words here are unnecessary. The performances and direction give you everything you need. They get you to laugh, not the narrator.
The last comedic narrator that worked was Ron Howard in Arrested Development. In that series, his words were so intricate, integral and layered. Black offers some insight but nothing of strong or vital value. Even though it wasn't meant to be comedic, the narrator in Little Children (2006) was funnier to me.
This movie begins with a fight breaking out between the four adult siblings of a family having dinner at a fancy Los Angeles restaurant, while they're trying to celebrate their father's 70th birthday. Ron Rifkin plays the father, Henry. Rifkin co-starred on the TV show Brothers & Sisters. As a fan of that series, I can recount many instances where scenes like this dinner played out to great effect. This movie was like an episode of Brothers & Sisters but with not as great writing.
The story takes place all in one day with director Barry W. Blaustein showing us what the four siblings do in the lead up to their father's birthday dinner. It's something that no one wants to attend but they must. Michael C. Hall (Dexter) stars as Jack, the eldest of the siblings who arranges and pays for the dinner. Jack is an architect whose business is failing and whose pregnant wife catches him in a compromising position.
Rainn Wilson (The Office) plays Joel, a lawyer who lost his practice and is in debt to a loan shark or possible gangster. He helps Mary, played by Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson. Mary is a cop who's trying to get a divorce.
Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) plays Nathan, an arrogant, self-absorbed writer with premature-ejaculation problems whose new book "Peep World" exposes and deconstructs his dysfunctional family, most especially his older brother, Jack, and his sister, Cheri.
Sarah Silverman (Saturday Night Live) plays Cheri, a neurotic actress. She doesn't like the portrayal of herself in the book and the subsequent so much that she decides to sue her brother. Her complaints to her mother, played Lesley Ann Warren, aren't enough so she thinks a lawsuit is.
What we come to learn is all four of these siblings only want their father's approval. The movie races through the lives as not to give us enough to weigh them down. Their disconnection from each other is so much that in the end when they do come together, it feels so hollow and contrived.
Two Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but Recommended for Mature Audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 19 mins.